The holiday break had ended, but the Heat kept the celebration going.
Stockton split a pair of divisional contests over the weekend, highlighted by an 8-1 shellacking of the San Jose Barracuda in the first game back since the presents were unwrapped.
The road win at the SAP Center was headlined by Alan Quine's six-point - yes, six-point - effort with a hat-trick and three assists.
Six players posted multiple-point games.Glenn Gawdin and Zac Leslie had four-point bursts; Buddy Robinson finished with three; while Corey Schueneman lit the lamp for the first time this season and added an assist. Austin Czarnik tallied two points, as well.
Through the first 31 minutes, the Heat tormented Barracuda netminder Josef Korenar with four goals on 12 shots. Andrew Shortridge fared no better, stopping only three of seven pucks that came his way. At the other end, Jon Gillies came just one shot shy of a shutout.
Oh, and the Heat ran up those offensive numbers without the benefit of a single powerplay in the outing.
"It's nice," said Quine. "I felt snake-bitten for a little bit, so to have all of (the goals) come in one game was nice. It was just a big win after Christmas break."
Saturday, Stockton came out on the wrong side of a hard-fought result, a 4-3 setback against a rested Bakersfield squad.
Czarnik added another goal to his season haul in the loss. Adam Ruzicka also found twine, while Brandon Davidson connected on a clapper from the blueline.
It was a game in which the Heat and Condors exchanged blows early on, Stockton conceding first before jumping ahead 2-1 just 30 seconds into the second, but a Bakersfield run of three-straight goals put the game out of reach.
That's not to say there wasn't drama, though, as Davidson's marker to pull the Heat back within striking distance at 4-3 came with three minutes still on the clock. However, Stockton couldn't push a puck past Stuart Skinner during a late flurry to try to find the equalizer.
The loss ended a season-best, seven-game point streak for Stockton, and it was just the second time this season that Artyom Zagidulin took a regulation loss.
A positive to watch looking ahead to Tuesday night's New Year's Eve contest, the first bout of a four-game home stand moving forward? The Heat are 5-0 on the year following regulation lossesm, and 5-0 against San Jose.
- Czarnik continues to post strong numbers with Stockton, bringing a five-game point streak and four-game goal streak into Tuesday's tilt. Czarnik has eight points in six games with Stockton.
- Gawdin took over the team's scoring lead after adding five points over the weekend (1g,4a). Gawdin's 31 points ranks him fourth in the AHL, and he has found the score sheet in five of Stockton's last six games.
- Quine became the first player in the AHL to record six points in a game this season with his Friday output. He now has four hat-tricks with Stockton since the start of the 2018-19 season.
- Zac Leslie has eight assists over Stockton's last five games, and seven helpers during his current three-game point streak.
- The Heat set a franchise record for most even-strength goals in a game with eight against San Jose on Friday.
THEY SAID IT:
"The line of Quine, Robinson and Gawdin was very good (Friday). Our shooting percentage was very good in terms of capitalizing on our opportunities. We have to take it with a grain of salt there, but the guys were really executing well. Alan Quine led the way with three goals and three assists, and he was just having one of those nights that happen once in a while for those top offensive guys." - Cail MacLean on the offensive performance Friday against San Jose
"Defensively, in our zone, we have to make sure we're doing a better job of protecting the inside of the ice. Especially against (Bakersfield), we haven't played them in a few games and they're a team that really pushes the pace. We didn't follow suit. We weren't moving our feet and staying on top of checks. There were too many odd-man rushes, whether they were 3-on-2's or 4-on-3's. It's a lesson we have to learn from and move on from." - MacLean on adjustments to take from Saturday's game
"We've shown we can score. We've been doing that for two years now. If we're piecing together our defensive game, I think we'll be tough to beat." - Quine on Stockton's ceiling
"My confidence is for sure building. I think I've made a lot of progressions from last year to this year. I've still got a ways to go, but for where I'm at right now I'm confident and comfortable, and I think that's why I'm playing some good hockey." - Gawdin on his production
"I'm just trying to build on what I have right now, every single day do the work to do the best I can do and set myself up and help this team win. First and most important is winning. If you can chip in here and there, that's great. This is a team that works hard, and you get rewarded because of the team effort." - Czarnik on his offensive contributions thus far in Stockton